The MacArthur Foundation is giving away another $100 million gift–and helping others make big bets
By Ben Paynter
In June 2016, the MacArthur Foundation put $100 million up for grabs in a high-stakes philanthropy competition called 100&Change. Instead of dividing its money among a bunch of grantees, the contest gave the whole amount to just one organization, in order to make the biggest impact on one specific solution.
Sesame Workshop and the International Rescue Committee ultimately won the grand prize for its plan to support refugee children living in Middle Eastern conflict zones. That proposal hinged on creating a TV show and other educational materials aimed at improving both the education and emotional resilience of displaced children.
After the success of the first iteration, the foundation is kicking off a second round of the competition, offering up another $100 million prize. It’s doing that through a new nonprofit called Lever for Change, which will also create other customized competitions for funders looking to place so-called “big bets”–the philanthropy world term for giving millions all at once to one particular cause.
Photo courtesy of Steven Lilley.